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Introducing ‘Yemaya’, Just-Us INDABA Commemorative Poster Art by Cookie Washington

We are incredibly honored to share the art that will represent our inaugural Just-Us INDABA presented by The BEE Collective.

The stunning image is from an original quilt designed by our dear friend and wise counselor Torreah “Cookie” Washington. We present “YEMAYA.”

YEMAYA – Goddess of Creation, Water, Moon, Motherhood, and Protection

Yemọja (also: YEMAYA, Yemaja, Yemanjá, Yemoyá, Yemayá; there are many different transliterations in other languages) is a major water spirit from the Yoruba religion.[1] She is the mother of all Orishas. She is an orisha, in this case patron spirit of rivers, particularly the Ogun River in Nigeria, and oceans in Cuban and Brazilian orisa religions. She is often syncretized with either Our Lady of Regla in the Afro-Cuban diaspora or various other Virgin Mary figures of the Catholic Church, a practice that emerged during the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Yemọja is said to be motherly and strongly protective, and to care deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. She does not easily lose her temper, but when angered she can be quite destructive and violent, as the flood waters of turbulent rivers.

Yemọja (Yemaya) is often depicted as a mermaid, and is associated with the moon (in some diaspora communities), water, and feminine mysteries. She is the protector of women. She governs everything pertaining to women; parenting, child safety, love, and healing. According to myth, when her waters broke, it caused a great flood creating rivers and streams and the first mortal humans were created from her womb.Source: Wikipedia, 2023

Learn more about Cookie Washington and peruse her powerful and inspiring, vibrant art at

About The BEE Collective

The mission of the Beloved Early Education and Care Collective is to ensure that every child enters kindergarten socially and emotionally ready to learn, that every pregnant person, parent and early educator has positive well-being and the tools to navigate maternal health and early care systems, that families are resilient, and that our community reduces mental health stigma for all ages.

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